New England Patriots 31 – 14 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
PATRIOTS – If you have read anything about this game already then you likely know how dominant Tom Brady and his offence were. In his first preseason action of the season, Brady looked as though he had been playing all offseason, makes you think if maybe… just maybe, someone left behind a few playbooks for the rookies and new guys by “accident”. Despite my hate for the Brady and the Patriots I cannot deny how well oiled and together they looked in just their second preseason game of the season, a season that had no offseason. Brady finished 11/19 for 118 yards and 2 touchdowns.
The Patriots running game was also in full stride as last years Mr. consistency (he DOES NOT fumble) Ben-Jarvis Green-Ellis carried the ball 11 times for 51 yards while scoring twice, both 1-yard scores. Rookie Steven Ridley who had a very nice opening preseason game carried the ball 14 times for 84 yards (he did lose a fumble). He is certainly making his case to remain in the crowded Patriot backfield.
Wes Welker led the team in receptions as he hauled in 5 passes for 56 yards. TE Aaron Hernandez also got involved early as he grabbed the first of Brady’s TD passes to go with his 3 catch 42-yard effort. Chad Ochocinco was able to claim his first TD pass from Tom Brady, an 8-yarder in the first quarter. He dropped a pair of passes earlier but one was caused by an illegal hit that was penalized; 2 more games for Ocho and Tom to mesh, but I already feel like Ocho is a threat for 10 TD’s this year.
BUCCANEERS – There are definitely not as many good things to say about the Buccs after this game; their offence struggled in the air and on the ground while the defense could not stop Tom Brady and his offence.
Usual Buccs starting QB (not this game) Freeman was only able to muster 33 yards on 5/10 passing in his limited playing time, while being sacked twice by the Patriot defense.
Starting RB LaGarrette Blount also received limited playing time, and like Freeman, he also struggled finishing the game with 4 carries for a 1-yard total. Backup QB Josh Johnson was the teams leading rusher, amassing 24 yards. Rookie RB Allen Bradford carried the ball 5 times for the Buccs (the most of any Bucc), rushing for 24 yards and a late game TD.
Not much to talk about in terms of Buccaneer receivers, as Mike Williams was one of 6 players to reel in 2 passes, no one had 3.
Pittsburgh Steelers 24 – 14 Philadelphia Eagles
STEELERS – QB Ben Roethlisberger was solid in this outing, throwing 2 TD’s on 8/12 passing and 125 yards. Big Ben was his usual self, ruining more than one sack with his penchant for staying upright. Byron Leftwich was also rather effective in relief, going 4/7 with 67 yards and a TD pass.
Rashard Mendenhall looked good in his playing time, rushing the ball 6 times for 28 yards, while adding 2 catches for 17 yards. 2nd year 22-year-old RB Jonathan Dwyer received the bulk of the carries in relief, totaling 44 yards on 13 touches.
Jerrico Cotchery made his first impact as a Steeler, he was able to grab a 29-yard pass and follow that up with a 20 yard TD grab from QB Byron Leftwich. Personally, I think Cotchery is an extremely talented WR, he is one of the best at making 3rd down catches and making tough catches along the sidelines; he will be very effective at helping the Steelers keep drives alive. Lifetime Steeler Hines Ward also reeled in a 20-yard TD pass from QB Ben Roethlisberger earlier in the game. Hines knows the offense so well, so despite his obvious decline statistically, he is still a threat each week to make an impact.
The Steeler defense was on top of its game, making 4 interceptions and pressuring the QB’s on almost every play.
EAGLES – QB Michael Vick did not have anywhere near the level of success he enjoyed in his very brief playing time in week 1; he finished 5/12 for 47 yards and 3 INT’s… yikes. Vince Young also struggled in relief, completing 5 of his 8 passes for 34 yards and an INT. 3rd stringer Mike Kafka was the most effective, throwing 2 late game TD’s to 1st year WR Gerald Jones (I challenge you to find a decent amount of info in this guy).
RB LeSean McCoy ran the ball well on his 4 touches, totaling 25 yards; he also caught one pass for a 12-yard gain. Ronnie Brown was able to gain 25 yards as well on 6 touches.
Jeremy Maclin has been cleared to play thank god (already have him on one team, want him on others) but didn’t. DeSean Jackson struggled with his QB’s, catching only 2 balls for 8 yards. The leading receiver for the eagles was 5th year receiver Johnnie Lee Higgins with 7 catches for 54 yards.
Notables: Players who impressed, struggled, or are just trying to make a name.
Looked Good: Well… Umm, The Patriots as a team. Jerricho Cotchery, Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers D/ST, Patriots D/ST
Struggled: Josh Freeman, Michael Vick, DeSean Jackson, Vince Young, Buccs Recievers
Looked OK: Hines Ward, Rashard Mendenhall
Trying to establish themselves: Steven Ridley, Johnnie Lee Higgins, Jonathan Dwyer
Thank you again for reading my thoughts and whatnot, I will do my best to promptly review each preseason game this year! Make sure to come back if you need to catch up on preseason action.
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